12 March 2008

Timewasting



While trawling for links for the Teo tribute post, I found another record review site. You know, the sites that are dedicated to just reviewing whole back catalogues of bands and artists, usually organized chronologically. The reviews are not too in-depth, but give the reader an overall view of the album (or rather, the reviewer's opinion on the album).

The one I've just recently found is called (imaginatively) Wilson & Alroy's Record Reviews, written by a couple of crit-types who seem refreshingly devoid of any Lester Bangs imitations and most other hipster cliches. There seem to be some gaping holes in their collections (no Pink Floyd in either the 60s or 70s?!! No electronic acts from the late 90s??!!), but they actually rate some prog-rock records as worthy of buying (despite slating early Genesis). I can spend a few hours (at least) at these sites, reading the reviews and seeing how they stack up against my own, as well as "popular critical/cultural" memes (you know, the ones that declare forever how great The Velvet Underground and Can were...yadda yadda).

Another site that I used to have linked to my first (now defunct) blog, 21st Century Schizoid Man, is the bit more imaginatively titled Cap'n Marvel's Rock Record Review Bonanza. If I remember correctly, "The Cap'n" is an American ex-pat in Russia, of all places. He may have moved back to the Yoo-Ess-Ayyy by now. He's got a good grasp of musical lingo and I get the idea he's a bonafide studio geek and I can relate to that. His 'Lester Bangs-isms' can become irritating after a while, but mosbunall of his opinions seem pretty valid to me (again, I heartily disagree with his assessment of Genesis' Wind & Wuthering and Van Der Graaf Generator's Pawn Hearts--but his slamming of Jethro Tull's 80s catalogue seems spot-on to me). Another one that'll kill a few hours. It appears as if The Cap'n hasn't posted anything since 2006, while striding through Can's back catalogue--maybe those acid-drenched Teutonic crazies caved his brain in...

You can also get academic with ol-skool crits like Robert Christgau, who elevated the rock record review to serious stature (perhaps a bit too serious at times) in the late 60s and early 70s, when the music itself swept all other genres aside and became the dominant form of recorded output by major (and indie) labels. Still, I'm not sure about the whole "Dean Of Crits" tag--that may be pushing the academic thing too far. There's no Lester Bangs site--you have to go and buy his books, but I did find this review from Bangs about The Shaggs' record. If that's not enough Bangs for yer buck, here's his review of Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music. Richard Meltzer doesn't have a site either--so it's off to Amazon you go. Those are just the 'Murican ones - you can check some more American and UK rock-crit stuff at Rock's Back Pages.

If that's not enough timewasting for you - here's a few more:

Mark Prindle's Record Review Page

Adrian's Album Reviews


Daniel Reviews... (one for Pixie, 'cos he reviews Ed Harcourt's albums)


If you're a muso-geek like myself, these sites can be very addictive..you've been warned...

3 comments:

Singing Bear said...

Must try some of these and I expect I'll be stuck for days!

My own favourite British rock writers include Paul Morley, Barney Hoskins and Nick Kent.

Bangs was great but Cristgau and Marcus do my head in a bit. It's supposed to be fun!

The Purple Gooroo said...

Definitely check some of them out, Bear--but yeah, be prepared for hours to disappear.

The "Rock's Back Pages" site seems pretty cool - but you have to sign up to read the full reviews and interviews.

Christgau does seem a bit up his own arse at times--but he does have a flair for the pen, I must admit.

Singing Bear said...

But he thinks 'Empire Burlesque' is a great album!!